Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Practically Good Gifts for Writers ;)

It’s birthday time in my house again, so I’m off to buy presents for my husband and son. My son is having a belated Chuck E. Cheese party on Saturday. For something different, I was hoping to have it at the sprinkler park, but he wanted it at Chuck E. Cheese like his siblings, who had it there in April. Now I’ve gotta make 2 cakes cuz my men each want a different kind. My husband wants strawberry cake with chocolate fudge frosting, sooo scrumptious and yummy, and my son wants a yellow Thomas the Train, oh, Tank Engine excuse me, cake with sweet, icky frosting, uuuhhhl totally gross.

Although my husband and I are a lot alike, when it comes to gift-giving, we're opposite. I like to buy things for people that are fun and frivolous. I'm gonna rush into the mall and quickly pick something out for him like some strategic computer game that makes me yawn or a power tool, cuz that's what he'd buy for himself. He’s so easygoing and content, I rarely put much thought into his gifts. Sorry, but it’s true. And my son loves trains, so that’s easy. Anything that moves on tracks is a safe and sure bet. Done. Twenty minutes tops. Then, I'll flee the dreaded mall, victorious, with easy finds and an iced mocha in hand.

My husband, on the other hand, strains during his gift selection process, forever aiming to get the totally perfect, ever-so-practical gift. If a gift doesn’t DO something, especially solve a problem, it’s not a good gift. I’d be happy getting a Marion Barber shirt—um, yeah, still waiting, NFL Shop. Come on!—but my husband thinks that’s a cheat. Plus, he hates the Cowboys and cringes at having to buy me anything with stars on it. [I won't give his team glory by posting it here, so you'll have to guess who he likes.] Hang on. He did get me the first two seasons of Lost on DVD for my birthday in April—yes another April birthday, my sister too—which was a good gift, but then again, it entertains, and hence, DOES something.

Needless to say, this drive of his makes him incapable of grasping what makes a good stocking stuffer. I even made him a list one year with chocolate, votives, panties, lip gloss, a spin brush, shaving stuff and gum as examples because he kept neglecting to stuff my stocking with the meaningless treasures I crave, especially chocolate—WHERE'S THE CHOCOLATE? Do you know me at all? Hellooo—And even with the list, chocolate never graced my stocking, although the panties sure did. I can’t win.

He's so sweet. He really does put a lot of thought into his gifts, but in doing so, he robs me of recipient delight…just a little bit.

I crack up that companies love to invent products for non-common problems and then convince people that they have those problems. I mean nearly everyone, arthritis or not, struggles with having to strain spaghetti, cut in a straight line and shave without soap affixed to the razor, right? Now the remote being lost? That's a real problem. At least my pager button on the cable box for lost remotes would save time and aggravation for all mankind. [Sid, here we are again. What's it gonna take, buddy? Get it done. People are counting on you. Be a hero.]

Well, no matter what kind of gift giver you are, here are some frivolous and/or practical gifts, to get the writer in your life.

The Wrong Word Dictionary or Bibliophile's Dictionary
A beefy divided notepad, reams of paper and quality ball point pens that don’t ooze
A carrying tote
A bookcase or file cabinet for organization
A USB/jump drive
Books on craft and style such as Stephen King’s On Writing or Elements of Style Strunk & White
Designed letterhead, envelopes and/or business cards with contact info [and get real ink not that cheap-looking thermography]
A trip to a writer’s retreat or conference
An online writing class
A massage
A manicure or trip to the salon, especially before a book signing
A laser printer
A laptop, if you have an extra grand or two lying around
A Mark of the Beast GPS for his car if he does a lot of traveling
A magazine subscription to Writer’s Digest or The New Yorker
A year’s subscription to The Next Big Writer
Writer's Market guides based on what your writer friend writes. There are different guides for books, short stories and poetry.
If she's published a book, get imprinted items with her name and book title: pens, bookmarks, ghosted sticky notes, notepaper, mugs, etc. for promotional tools or giveaways at book signings, conferences, etc.
Novel writing computer programs like Dramatica Pro, although I've never tried it
Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift cards
Comfy slippers like Isatoners
A surprise beverage, especially if she's been working hard and has lost track of time
Surprise take-out
Red Sox tickets haha

Well, I'm off to clean, write, cook then shop. My toddler just came up to me. Eecck. Smells like I have a diaper to change too.

On a side note, the misplaced "practically" in my title reminds me of the time I called up my best friend just to say, "How delicious are Lucky Charms?" She paused and said, "Uh, maaagically. Why?" And I replied, "Oh. I couldn't remember and was singing, hmm hmm hmm delicious and kept thinking practically but I knew that was all wrong, cuz they are quite good. Okay. Thanks. Bye."

Have fun, be safe, take care and God Bless.

~ Signing off and sending out cyber hugs

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